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danger-haz-chem-signBefore it was banned in 1972 for its damaging effects on human health, the pesticide known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (or DDT) was widely used on U.S. crops. The problem? DDT can take more than 15 years to break down in the environment, and in many parts of the world it is still used for agricultural and disease control purposes.

In addition to its probable carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects, DDT has been shown to affect healthy liver function, contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and cause damage to the human nervous and reproductive systems. Now, a new study involving mice reveals that DDT exposure may be linked to a higher risk of obesity and related conditions later in life—in particular among women.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis found that exposure to DDT in the womb leads to a higher risk in women of developing metabolic syndrome, defined by the Mayo Clinic as: “a cluster of conditions—increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels—that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”

More so than their male counterparts, the female mice exposed to DDT before birth showed signs of decreased metabolism and an inability to regulate body temperature, which study author Michele La Merrill said leads to more calories being stored instead of burned. In male mice, DDT exposure did not have the same effects and only caused a slight increase in blood glucose levels.

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lady-drinking-waterThere is no magic bullet for losing weight and keeping it off—but there are things you can do each day to make sure you get the most out of your weight loss efforts. Here are the 7 Metabolic Boosters that will help you maximize weight loss and achieve healthy weight management by supporting your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories to run all of your bodily functions).

  1. Frequent eating (5–6 times daily): Studies have shown that your metabolism increases by as much as 30 percent during eating and digestion. By eating smaller portions every two to three hours or so, your metabolism is continually fired up to help you burn even more calories. (Fasting, on the other hand, lowers your metabolism.)
  2. Muscle boosting:Muscle cells are about 8X more metabolically demanding than fat cells, so the greater your ratio of lean body mass to fat, the faster your metabolism runs and the more calories you burn. A good strength training program can help increase your metabolic rate by as much as 15 percent to help with weight loss and long-term weight management.
  3. Aerobic exercise: Aerobic activity heightens your metabolism during and even after your workout (especially if the exercise is high-intensity) to help you burn more calories. It also helps maintain lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolism to help you continually burn calories. Combine aerobic activity with strength training for maximum benefit.
  4. Drinking plenty of water: Researchers in Germany found that drinking 16 ounces of water can increase your resting metabolic rate by as much as 30 percent. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces every day, and try to drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before eating to help prevent overeating.
  5. Getting eight hours of sleep every night: The connection between sleep and weight loss has to do with two important hormones: leptin (which tells the body you are full and to stop eating) and ghrelin (which signals hunger). When you are sleep deprived, leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels increase, causing you to eat more. Getting at least eight hours of sleep each night is critical to maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  6. Using the sauna: Did you know you can actually burn extra calories by simply relaxing in the heat? Your body uses 0.568 calorie to evaporate 1 gram of sweat, so the more you sweat, the more calories you will burn! Note: it is important to gradually increase your time in a sauna and drink enough water to keep up with the sweating.

Detoxification: Research has shown that toxins slow down the body’s metabolic rate, decrease satiety (resulting in increased caloric intake), and limit your ability to burn fat. Regular cleansing and detox can help eliminate toxins and assist with healthy weight management.

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